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COVID litigation: What HR can learn from the first wave of lawsuits

Since the COVID pandemic struck last March, courts have been flooded with lawsuits. These lawsuits come in a wide variety of flavors, with each offering important lessons for employers who want to avoid becoming the next target. Here are some of the top litigation triggers to help you revamp your pandemic response.

COVID anxiety: What if workers don’t want to return?

What do you do with an employee who insists on working from home after you recall people to in-person work?

Pandemic intensified worker substance abuse

The number of employees reporting lower productivity or missed work due to substance abuse has “nearly doubled” since 2019, according to a new survey by Versta Research.

$136K COVID fine shows OSHA is in for the long haul

In what appears to be the first company cited under OSHA’s new National Emphasis Program on COVID enforcement, a Massachusetts tax-prep company was hit with a $136,552 fine for, in part, prohibiting employees and customers from wearing face masks in the office during the statewide mask mandate last winter.

Revisit workplace mask policies in light of new CDC guidance

Don’t rush to scrap your workplace masking and distancing rules solely on the basis of what the CDC says. In fact, OSHA remains the go-to safety authority for employers.

Snapshot: Only 8% of employers will require covid-19 vaccinations

Few employers are leaning toward requiring employees to be vaccinated as a condition of returning to the workplace.

Be alert for covid-related negligence liability

Most workplace-related covid-19 infection claims have been resolved through the workers’ compensation system, where employer liability is limited. But a handful of recent claims have made their way into court because they allege secondary infection of nonemployees. There is no limit on the dollar amount plaintiffs can seek in a negligence lawsuit.

Employers, employees may clash over return-to-work

Employers continue to struggle with what post-pandemic work ought to look like, according to a new survey by the Littler Mendelson employment law firm. One of the most potentially significant problems: Employers and employees may disagree about plans for reopening workplaces after a year of working remotely.

The uphill battle to vaccinate all employees

The challenges employers face trying to create safe workplaces this summer mirror those facing the nation at large. Although most employers want to ensure as many employees as possible are vaccinated against covid-19, a significant percentage of people don’t want the shots.

OSHA: Act fast to curb workplace infections

After almost a year of inaction as the coronavirus raged, OSHA is now scrambling to play catch-up. Biden administration officials say OSHA is committed to protecting workers from infection as covid-19 hot spots emerge even as the pandemic winds down.